The new mental health primary care workers, first announced in
2000, will be additional members of staff and will not jeopardise
the jobs of current employees, writes Katie
Guidance from the National Institute for Mental Health in
England and the department of health acknowledges the concerns by
some current staff who fear their roles may be undermined by the
It says that “there is no intention for new graduate workers to
replace existing staff or duplicate provision that is already being
The guidance aims to help primary care trusts implement the
proposals set out in the NHS Plan to appoint at least 1,000 new
graduate primary care workers by 2004, and improve support for
people with common mental disorders.
PCTs will be given extra money for the new workers in the next
financial year – enough to employ two or three in each PCT
The graduate workers are likely to help in improving referrals
and in providing information to patients and families. They could
also provide low intensity support, develop databases of local
mental health services, and supplement services for black and
ethnic minority service users.
“There may also be value in graduate primary care workers having
a more active role in liaising with charitable and voluntary sector
services”, says the guidance.
Training is likely to be via a one year programme at post
graduate certificate level, with psychology graduates making up a
possible pool of candidates.